• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Koch/Georgia Pacific influencing Oregon elections?

A recent story from In These Times alleges that the Koch Brothers are trying to control employee votes in Oregon. Eugene is home to a Georgia-Pacific plant that we featured in a recent cover story on toxics in west Eugene. 

The election story begins:

Koch Sends Pro-Romney Mailing to 45,000 Employees While Stifling Workplace Political Speech

The billionaire Koch brothers have found a new way to influence the 2012 electionn — preaching to employees

Much has been written about the owners of Koch Industries, brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, trying to control the political process through hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to right-wing causes and candidates. Now, an In These Times investigation reveals that the billionaires have broken out another tactic to influence the 2012 elections: attempting to control their workers’ votes.

In a voter information packet obtained by In These Times, the Koch Industries corporate leadership informed tens of thousands of employees at its subsidiary, Georgia Pacific, that their livelihood could depend on the 2012 election and that the company supports Mitt Romney for president. The guide was similar to one the company distributed before the 2010 midterm elections, which Mark Ames and I reported on in The Nation last year.

The packet arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month.

The packet featured a cover letter, by Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson, as well as  "flyer listing Koch-endorsed candidates, beginning with Romney. Robertson’s letter explained: 'At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.'"  

The cover letter reads:

If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

The packet also included a packet that also included "an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch. The letter went on to say, 'We believe any decision about which candidates to support is — as always — yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation.'"

But In These Times reports that " In the flyer sent to Oregon employees, all 14 Koch-backed state candidates were Republicans."

For the full story go here.